Mum’s charity mission after Leeds baby survives virus causing heart to hit 270bpm

Seraphina Crowley pictured in hospital with her brother Seeger.
Seraphina Crowley pictured in hospital with her brother Seeger.
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A rare virus nearly claimed the life of a Leeds baby after causing her heart to swell massively and beat at 270bpm.

Amy Crowley, from Farsley, rushed her daughter Seraphina to Leeds General Infirmary just weeks after birth when she began having difficulty breathing in September 2015.

Seraphina Crowley pictured with her brother Seeger, three, and her parents Jason and Amy. Picture by Simon Hulme.

Seraphina Crowley pictured with her brother Seeger, three, and her parents Jason and Amy. Picture by Simon Hulme.

The infant was found to have no femoral pulse on arrival at A&E, prompting doctors on the resuscitation unit to save her life before she spent a month in intensive care and a further three weeks in a cardiac unit.

She was later diagnosed with near fatal enteroviral myocarditis, which caused her heart to swell before a VT attack that saw her heart rate rocket.

Nine months on and Seraphina has recovered significantly, prompting Amy and a close friend to plan to shave their heads in aid of the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF) and LGI’s paediatric intensive care unit on August 6.

Amy, 37, who also has a three-year-old son named Seeger with her husband Jason, had earlier flagged up that Seraphina was failing to put on weight, struggling to feed, becoming lethargic and developing mottled skin.

I was initially in a bit of denial and that’s kind of hit me since. We know how close we came to losing her.

Amy Crowley, whose daughter Seraphina is recovering from enteroviral myocarditis.

“They did make us leave the resus room at one point as that was when she crashed,” she said. “I knew it was bad because there were loads of people in the room trying to save her and thankfully they did.

“It was just unbelievable. I refused to believe it, I just thought she would keep fighting and she did.”

Seraphina’s battles with ill health have left her with a leaking heart valve and potential brain damage linked to the fact that the acidity levels in her blood rose when her condition worsened.

Her system was flushed out with antibiotics and she spent several weeks recuperating in hospital but is now back to her best. The Crowleys are aware that the impact of the virus could yet result in further complications down the line.

Nine-month-old Seraphina Crowley pictured at home in Farsley. Picture by Simon Hulme.

Nine-month-old Seraphina Crowley pictured at home in Farsley. Picture by Simon Hulme.

Nevertheless Amy is thankful that her daughter’s health is improving. She said: “We are really lucky, I know how lucky we are.

“I was initially in a bit of denial and that’s kind of hit me since. We know how close we came to losing her.”

Before she is due to return to work from maternity leave, Amy is keen to give back to the CHSF and the LGI’s paediatric intensive care unit which helped her family.

She and a friend will do a sponsored head shave on August 6 before donating their hair to the Little Princess Trust, which makes wigs for children affected by cancer.

“It’s just the support they give other families and not just us,” she said. “I’ve seen many other poorly babies and the nurses are so lovely and thoughtful. They listened to us.”

To donate visit justgiving.com/SeraphinaCrowley.

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